Everyone hears that when you first get your puppy, it is very important to socialize him or her. But what does this mean? Sure, your pup met another dog on a walk last week, but that is not enough. Socializing is an ongoing thing that you always want to keep up with, so your pup stays happy and does not get aggressive. Getting aggressive is not the only thing you need to worry about, but if not appropriately socialized they could start showing signs of fear which could cause other aggressive dogs to bully them. And having your pup live a happy, healthy life is ideal so here are some tips and tricks for you!
We humans are everywhere so getting your pup used to different types of people is so important. It is pretty embarrassing and sad for a new pet owner when all you want to do is show off this cute furry friend of yours, and they don’t agree with something this new human is wearing or how they approached them, so they start barking profusely. This is one of the reasons we socialize!
Get them used to different kinds of people and situations. Tall people, older adults, people of different ethnicities and children are all critical to introduce to your puppy. You have to put yourself in your puppy’s shoes, he has met tons of adults and other dogs and then one day he sees a smaller looking version of you.. umm that’s not right. How will he react? It’s better just not to take chances and have him meet everyone right from the start.
How much fun is it being able to take your dog to the dog park and toss around the ball for him without having to worry? Or having to drop him off at daycare knowing he is behaving with other pups nicely. This is very easy to accomplish, you just must start socializing with the right dogs and the right way. When you are on a walk, and he sees another dog remain calm by not pulling hard on the leash. Of course, he will be pulling on his end but as soon as you tense up and pull hard on the lease he thinks if you are tense there must be a good reason for it and it could all go downhill from there. After the encounter has finished and it went well make sure you praise and reward your new pup for doing a good job. And then keep this up, introduce him to all sorts of different kinds of dogs. And it doesn’t stop at dogs either, have him meet cats, rabbits, guinea pigs or pretty much whatever you can think of! The more, the better.
New places can be scary, even for us humans. That’s why you don’t want the only outing for your pet to ever be is the vet. He could get scared and snap at the vet just because he is in such a new and different environment.
There are many positive benefits to taking your pal wherever you can. I mean, who doesn’t like company?! Take him to the park, walks, the pet store, and friends’ houses if possible. And before you know it he won’t even think twice about going into a big scary building. Objects are also another important thing they need to get used to, let’s say you leave the vacuum out, and Buddy is now losing his mind and over the top stressed out! Stay calm and go over to the big scary vacuum to show him that it is, in fact, nothing to be worried about. When pup finally calms down and approaches the vacuum to sniff it tell him he is a good boy and rewards him. It is all about positive reinforcement when training to socialize and always keep in mind the training to socialize is a lifelong commitment you owe to your dog!
Written by Jenica Lucius, CCR